A few months ago I connected with Jennifer Yarbrough, a trained childbirth educator and the mother of three children, all born naturally in the hospital. As a hospital-based doula, I was excited to read her book, Unbound Birth: How to Have a Natural Birth In the Hospital. She was kind enough to send me an advanced copy and I whipped right through it last weekend.
Unbound Birth is a good introduction to unmedicated birthing in the hospital. At fifty-nine pages, it is far shorter and a much quicker read than other books about childbirth. Most of my favorite go-to birth books as a doula and childbirth educator are 400 plus pages!
Unbound Birth is a great read for mothers-to-be who are just starting to consider the idea of birthing naturally, or parents who haven't done much reading, and are in a hurry to soak in some tips before the big day arrives.
For those who hope to learn more, Jenny makes excellent recommendations for other books and internet resources throughout Unbound Birth.
Jenny's tone is casual and conversational. She intertwines the stories of her own births with information about how other moms-to-be can do the same. Unbound Birth feels like sitting down with a friend for a chat about the birth experience, rather than listening to a sermon. It's refreshingly casual.
Jenny emphasizes that natural birth can be for everyone with the right preparation, and that it is an empowering experience. Jenny points out that many women choose epidurals and then plan unmedicated births during subsequent pregnancies, but few woman have unmedicated births and then opt for medicated ones later.
Having a natural birth is a powerful experience that profoundly effects women. Jenny acknowledges that many women desire natural births, but are uncomfortable with the idea of birthing at home. Unbound Birth helps bridge the gap between medicalized hospital birth and au naturale homebirth. There is a place for everyone woman to have the kind of birth she desires, and Unbound Birth will help women achieve it.
Unbound Birth comes with a blank template for creating a birth plan that I would tell my doula clients and childbirth education students is just about perfect.
The cost of the book is worth it just for this template alone! Having an unmedicated birth in a hospital is often challenging due to poor or miscommunication.
Having a birth plan is a great idea for communicating desires for labor, delivery and postpartum, but if mothers come armed with a long, detailed list of want they want medical staff can view this as over the top, threatening, condescending or ridiculous.
A birth "plan" should really be a simple list of preferences and ideas. I encourage pregnant women to have two birth plans: one for themselves, their partners and their doula that lists many ideas and preferences ("I would like to try being on a birth ball") and one more simplistic birth plan to give to the medical staff at the hospital ("I am planning a natural birth; please don't offer me pain medication"). The Unbound Birth birth plan template is a great tool for helping women to boil down their long list of great ideas into something more productive for hospital staff.